Electrical Safety Tips
PDF copies to download and print: Spring Planting; Harvest Safety
Overhead power lines
If you make contact with a power line, don’t get out.
If you make contact with a power line, guy wire, power pole, electrical box or any other electrical equipment, do not get out of your cab or truck. Stay put and call 9-1-1 to dispatch the local utility to de-energize the power. If you must get out due to smoke or fire, make a solid jump out without touching any part of the tractor or vehicle, and hop away as far as you can, keeping both feet together as you hop. Another option (after you make a clean exit) is to shuffle or waddle away while keeping your feet together and on the ground.
Once you are out, never try to re-enter the cab or truck.
Remember: If your machinery or vehicle comes in contact with a power line or other utility equipment, do not get out of the cab. Stray power could energize your equipment and the ground. Call 9-1-1 and wait for us to arrive and cut the power so that you can safely exit your tractor or vehicle.
Determine proper clearance.
Contact us to measure power line heights; do NOT do this yourself. Once you know the heights, you can determine appropriate equipment, implement and extension clearances. Always maintain at least 10 feet between the power line and the tallest height of the equipment that will be transported. Keep in mind that due to wear, age and even weather conditions, power lines can change height. Please contact us with any concerns. It’s good to know power line clearance, but always have a spotter.
Call us before moving or adding a grain bin.
The National Electrical Safety Code addresses grain bins and their proximity to power lines with very specific requirements. The requirements are in place to help keep farmers safe: to decrease the chances of farming equipment and machinery coming in contact with power lines. If you are planning on building a new grain bin or remodeling around an area that already has one, contact Western Iowa Power Cooperative at 800-253-5189. We can help with specific code requirements. The taller a grain bin, the farther it must be placed from a power line.
Always dig safely.
Whether you are installing new fence posts or using large tillage tools, call 811 before you dig to have underground utilities marked. Even if you think you know where buried gas, power and other lines are, don’t rely on your memory. Get all utilities marked so that you know for sure. Utility locators dispatched by 811 do not mark private lines.
Use standby generators with care.
If you have a standby generator to provide essential power during an outage, be sure to correctly use the transfer switch. Once you properly engage the switch, it stops your farm’s generated power from entering utility lines, aka backfeeding, which can electrocute lineworkers who are working to restore power.
For more information about electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.